North Central Self Study
The General Institutional Requirements
1. UNK has a mission statement, formally adopted by the governing board and made public, declaring that it is an institution of higher education.
Each campus of the University of Nebraska has its own mission, designed to complement the missions assigned to other campuses. UNK’s mission statement appears in its strategic plan, which was reviewed by the Board of Regents both upon its issuance and in subsequent progress reports. It also appears in capsule form in Regental Policy (RP 2.1.6), as follows: “UNK is primarily an undergraduate institution committed to quality undergraduate programs in a residential setting with a select mix of master’s level graduate programs.”
UNK’s strategic plan, Regental Policy, and the CCPE Comprehensive Plan are on file in the Resource Room.
2. It is a degree-granting institution.
UNK is authorized to confer the following baccalaureate degrees: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of General Studies, Bachelor of Arts in Education, Bachelor of Science in Education, and the Bachelor of Music. At the graduate level, it offers the Master of Business Administration, Master of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Arts in Education, Master of Science in Education, and the Education Specialist degree.
3. UNK has legal authorization to grant its degrees and it meets all the legal requirements to operate as an institution of higher education wherever it conducts its activities.
UNK is authorized to grant its degrees by the Statutes of Nebraska, the Bylaws and Policies of the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska, and the Comprehensive Statewide Plan for Postsecondary Education, issued by the CCPE. All programs offered at UNK must comply with state law and with University of Nebraska policy.
4. It has legal documents to confirm its status: not-for-profit, for-profit, or public.
UNK’s status as a public institution is authorized by state statute. It holds federal tax-exempt status based on its educational mission.
5. It has a governing Board that possesses and exercises necessary legal power to establish and review basic policies that govern the institution.
The University of Nebraska Board of Regents is empowered by the Nebraska Constitution and the Statutes of Nebraska. The Board consists of eight voting members elected by district for six-year terms, and four nonvoting student Regents, one from each campus, who serve during their tenure as student body president. The Board supervises the general operations of the university and the control and direction of all expenditures. The records of its actions, including agendas, minutes, notices, policies, and bylaws, are public documents and are available on the University of Nebraska website (http://www.nebraska.edu/).
6. Its governing board includes public members and is sufficiently autonomous from the administration and ownership to assure the integrity of the institution.
Voting members of the Board are publicly elected and responsible to their constituencies. Their respective student bodies elect nonvoting members of the Board. The University President and other University employees support the Board as directed. Additionally, Regental policy (RP 1.1.2) states a code of ethics for the Board and its employees that prohibit conflicts between their private interests and their official duties.
7. It has an executive officer designated by the governing board to provide administrative leadership for the institution.
The UNK Chancellor is appointed by the University President, subject to approval of the Board of Regents. The Chancellor serves as chief executive officer of the campus and as a Vice President of the University of Nebraska. Chancellors report to the President and are empowered to “do all things necessary for the development of the major administrative unit for which they are responsible.” (RP 2.8.1).
8. Its governing board authorizes its affiliation with the Commission.
UNK’s continued affiliation with the Commission was ratified during the process of transition into the University of Nebraska and is published in the UNK Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs. The objective to retain NCA accreditation has been featured in planning documents reviewed and approved by the Regents.
9. It has employed a faculty that has earned from accredited institutions the degrees appropriate to the level of instruction offered by the institution.
In Fall 2003, 72.6% of the full-time faculty had terminal degrees from accredited institutions. Faculty credentials are summarized in the 2002-2004 UNK undergraduate catalog, pages 293-303, and are on file in the Resource Room.
10. A sufficient number of faculty members are full-time employees of the institution.
In Fall 2003, 296 of the 382 FTE instructional positions (77%) were held by full-time employees.
11. Its faculty has a significant role in developing and evaluating all of the institution’s educational programs.
The faculty of an academic department are responsible for the development and evaluation of educational programs. College faculties have statutory responsibility for their programs, subject to approval by the Board of Regents. Each college has an active academic affairs or educational policy committee. The Faculty Senate acts on academic matters that concern more than one college. At the graduate level, educational programs and coursework are the responsibility of the departmental graduate faculty. Each graduate program has a Graduate Program Committee. Proposals related to graduate coursework and graduate programs are approved through this committee, and ultimately by the UNK Graduate Council.
12. It confers degrees.
UNK confers degrees at the end of each spring and fall semester. From July 1, 2002 to June 30, 2003, it awarded 1058 undergraduate and 240 graduate degrees.
13. It has degree programs in operation, with students enrolled in them.
All degree programs (see item #2, above) are in operation and have students enrolled in them.
14. Its degree programs are compatible with the institution’s mission and are based on recognized fields of study at the higher education level.
The degree programs at UNK are consistent with the mission of a primarily undergraduate institution that offers selected graduate degrees responding to demonstrated need in areas of program strength. The University of Nebraska Board of Regents and the Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education have authorized and approved all programs as compatible with UNK’s mission.
15. Its degrees are appropriately named, following practices common to institutions of higher education in terms of both length and content of the programs.
UNK degrees are appropriately named, consistent with practices in higher education concerning length and content.
16. Its undergraduate degree programs include a coherent general education requirement consistent with the institution’s mission and designed to ensure breadth of knowledge and to promote intellectual inquiry.
The general education core at UNK is composed of a General Studies Program and cultural diversity and writing intensive requirements administered by the General Studies Council and the Director of General Studies. All UNK students must satisfy General Studies, CD, and WI requirements, which constitute more than one-third of the undergraduate experience at UNK. The General Studies Program at UNK is unique within the University of Nebraska, in that its requirements apply to all students in all colleges and programs, and it has been designated a priority academic program.
17. It has admission policies and practices that are consistent with the institution’s mission and appropriate to its educational programs.
UNK applies University of Nebraska undergraduate admission standards, which were last revised in 1997. The requirements are designed to ensure that students admitted to the university are prepared to succeed. Policies allow campuses to admit some students who do not meet admission standards if they demonstrate special merit enabling them to do university-level work. Admission of undergraduates is centralized in the Office of Admissions. Graduate admissions are managed by the Office of Graduate Studies and Research in collaboration with the relevant academic departments.
18. It provides students access to those learning resources and support services requisite for its degree programs.
UNK provides buildings, classrooms, laboratories, library, computers, and access to learning resources in traditional and electronic forms. Many of these resources are state-of-the-art. All are continually improving. UNK also provides a full range of student support services, including academic advising, counseling, tutoring, placement, and health and residential/campus life functions.
19. It has an external financial audit by a certified public accountant or public audit agency at least every two years.
External financial audits are conducted annually. The University of Nebraska Central Administration contracts with auditing firms to perform these services. In recent years the audit has been conducted by Deloitte Touche. The two most recent audits may be found in the Resource Room. The State Auditor also audits UNK separately every year.
20. Its financial documents demonstrate the appropriate allocation and use of resources to support its educational programs.
Resources are appropriately allocated to support educational programs. UNK allocates a much larger percentage of its resources to educational programs than do its peer institutions.
21. Its financial practices, records, and reports demonstrate fiscal viability.
UNK’s financial practices are described in Chapter 4. Records and reports demonstrate that the institution is fiscally viable. Revenue bonds for residence halls and related facilities constitute the only indebtedness, and UNK is able to satisfy debt obligations. There are no cash flow or reserve difficulties.
22. Its catalog or other official documents includes its mission statement along with accurate descriptions of its educational programs and degree requirements; its academic calendar; its learning resources; its admissions policies and practices; its academic and non-academic policies and procedures directly affecting students; its charges and refund policies; and the academic credentials of its faculty and administrators.
The Undergraduate Catalog contains all these data. Graduate programs and policies are described in the Graduate Catalog. Additional information pertaining to students is contained in the Student Handbook, and additional information of interest to faculty is available in the Faculty Handbook. All of these documents are available on the UNK website and in the Resource Room.
23. It accurately discloses its standing with accrediting bodies with which it is affiliated.
Current information about the various accreditations held by the University, Colleges and academic programs is contained in the UNK Undergraduate and Graduate catalogs and on the UNK website.
24. It makes available upon request information that accurately describes its financial condition.
The annual audit is a public document that is available upon request. Details about UNK’s financial condition are published in annual University of Nebraska budget documents. These details are also available upon request.